Would you partake in this particular meal?
Back in February 2017, 60 tons of hay in a barn in Wiltshire in the U.K. caught fire. When firefighters from the Pewsey Fire Department arrived, they were informed by the farm manager Rachel Rivers that 18 two-week-old piglets and two sows were still inside. The firefighters leapt into action to save the animals.
“When we arrived at the scene shortly before 10 p.m., half of the barn was on fire, with the pigs sheltering in the corner on the other side. The tough bit was getting towards it and then to free the pigs,” Fireman Mark Hillier said. “Once they were clear, we took a defensive approach to keep the situation under control and then let the fire burn itself out.”
All of the pigs survived, and Rachel was thrilled. So much so that she said she would soon bring a gift of appreciation by the station. They weren’t expecting to have the saved pigs served up though…
Eating What You Love
Rachel let the piglets grow for six months before slaughtering them and turning them into sausages, which she served to the firefighters. The fireman really enjoyed the food. The team wrote on their Facebook page:
“Exactly six months and one day since firefighters rescued 18 piglets from a fire, we got to sample the fruits of our labours from that February night. Highly recommended by Pewsey fire station crew and if any one of our followers is having a bank holiday BBQ this weekend then check out these sausages, they are fantastic.”
Though the firemen were pleased with their gift, and Rachel was happy to serve it to them, fans of the once-heartwarming story were left with a bad taste in their mouth.
Claire Jones wrote to the firemen, “If you rescue cats, dogs and babies do you sit down to eat them six months later? You are vile human beings. You have no idea of what those animals went through. The fear and the pain. Go visit a slaughter house. Educate yourselves on the cruelty you are involved in.”
Even the animal-rights organization PETA got into the fray. Director of International Programmes Mimi Bekhechi said, “These poor piglets were no better off for escaping the fire, only to be put back into it six months later after being subjected to the horrifying experience of the abattoir.” She vowed that PETA would send the firemen vegan sausages so that they “can see how easy it is to truly be heroes for pigs – by sparing them all suffering.”
The Pewsey Fire Department removed their post and wrote, “In regard to a recent post on this page, we recognise that this has caused offence to some. We apologise for this and as such have removed the post.”
The farmer and the farm’s owner also caught flack for the gesture, but they explained that becoming food was the destiny of the pigs anyway. Rachel Rivers explained to all of the offended people through BBC, “I gave those animals the best quality of life I could ever give until the time they go to slaughter and they go into the food chain. You do feel sad at the end of it… but to bring them down for [the firefighters] was a good way of saying ‘thank you.’”
The farm’s owner, Canon Gerald Osbourne, tried to impart that he runs an organic farm and not an “animal sanctuary.” “An inevitable part of farming is the death of an animal which gives us the food to eat. We give the pigs the best opportunity and the best life they could have for six months,” he said. “They are outdoors and fed with organic food which is grown on the farm.”
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